Pre-Race Routines and Rituals

Why do pre-race rituals and routines help athletes relax? Because when the executive functioning part of the brain (i.e. pre-frontal cortex) knows what to expect it quiets down and anxiety decreases.  Routines can vary from sport and athlete, but any behaviors that can be repeated before events will help calm systems and promote flow.  For many athletes getting to their event early is important for reasons they just can't explain.  For others, certain foods, socks, gear or actions are a must before a race.  These aren't superstitions for athletes (though some of them may seem that way) - they are strategies to shut down the chatter that the pre-frontal cortex is so fond of.